Spring Breakers (2013) – Review

1 Star

The opening few minutes of director Harmony Korine’s latest is exactly what one would expect from a film title Spring Breakers made outside of the studio system. Hedonistic titillation is gracelessly splashed across the screen until the barest semblance of a plot emerges from the anemic screenplay. If the entire shooting script ran more than 60 pages, I would be surprised. There is a tremendous amount of filler, which lends itself to the ad-lib naturalistic vibe that Kornie is popular for employing in his sparse filmography.

Three female college students who display little intelligence, rob a fast food chain in order to finance a spring break trip to St. Petersburg, Florida. The trio of hellions recruit their childhood friend Faith (Selena Gomez) to join on the trip that will ultimately prove life changing. The movie takes flight with the introduction of drug dealer/rapper Alien (James Franco) at a beach front concert. Franco’s manic energy and odd-ball interpretation of Korine’s characterization is without a doubt the strongest element to this meandering mess.

When the police break up a hotel party, the girls are arrested, charged with minor possession and faced with a hefty fine or two days in lockup. Inexplicably, Alien bails out the misbegotten chicks and before long the girls are entangled in Alien’s twisted lifestyle.

The most frustrating thing is that there is a good movie lurking in the corners of what is presented here. DP has captured some beautiful images and compositions, the soundtrack is filled with some of today’s best music, and the leads all look attractive in constant states of various undress. However, the acting is non-existent outside of Franco’s mesmerizing portrayal, and Korine has unwisely edited his film down to fragments. The main problem has nothing to do with the vague storyline, gratuitous nudity, or inept editing; it’s that the movie has nothing to say. It is akin to a pretty starlet with the looks but nothing between the ears. Then again with this cast, I’m sure most audience members won’t be fixated on anything above the neck.

Director: Harmony Korine
Stars: Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson

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